Comprised of multiple commands, this armed services organization frequently deploys personnel on missions all over the world. Staffing for these missions involves far more than just military personnel. Mission planners, maintenance teams, support teams, and many others all play key roles in a mission’s success.
The organization constantly seeks out new ways that might modernize its infrastructure, to enhance how its personnel operate and improve mission planning, support, and post-mission tasks. Mobility represented a huge jump forward for them in that regard, with the ability to easily digitize a wide range of previously inefficient, time-intensive processes.
“When they approached us, the organization was already using mobility fairly extensively,” explains a Sales Director at BlackBerry. “Every command had an application that allowed their personnel to access mission parameters and navigation details while deployed. Their support staff also used tablet-based software to help them repair equipment, easily accessing knowledge bases and maintenance checklists while on the shop floor.”
Although the organization took a huge step forward with mobility, it still had one major problem: its different commands weren’t unified in their operations. Each one had its own way of doing things, and its own set of solutions.
“In a lot of ways, this military agency functions a lot like a commercial enterprise,” the Sales Director continues. “They operate a bunch of different departments, and there’s a big juggling act as to how they manage their infrastructure. There’s the natural tendency for military commands to provide local command-centric distributed ,IT systems for mission requirements.”
The big challenge, he explains, lies in bridging the divide between headquarters and personnel on the ground. The former needs to make sure that policies are properly followed and all sensitive data is kept secure. The latter, meanwhile, simply needs to get their job done as quickly and effectively as possible.
“The end result of all this was that you had some commands running AirWatch, some on MobileIron, and some on BlackBerry,” says the Sales Director. “At each of the different commands, there were different mobility initiatives, all at different stages of adoption – everything was managed across several disparate pockets of authority.”
The only thing the commands had in common were their fundamental mobility requirements. Each needed an enterprise PIM solution to support secure email. Each needed software that would support better, more efficient operations.
And each needed a way to effectively manage the devices used by their personnel. In order to deliver on these needs – and to offer better command level mission tools – the organization realized that it needed to consolidate. It needed each command to utilize the same mobility solution.
Instead of having to manage many different groups with different mobile strategies, this military agency now has a single mobile strategy powered by BlackBerry. They can manage everything from a central IT infrastructure rather than bolting on separate mission applications from separate commands.
Sales Director, BlackBerry
Several commands in the organization were already using legacy Good for Enterprise® (GFE) for its PIM functionality. When BlackBerry purchased Good Technology and developed BlackBerry® Work, decision-makers saw an opportunity. As part of the organization’s upgrade from Good Technology to BlackBerry Work, they also opted to begin a wholesale transition to BlackBerry® UEM, and migrate their mobile apps onto BlackBerry® Dynamics™.
A few factors played into this decision, says the Sales Director.
First, the organization has always been a very big endorser of container technology – especially the way BlackBerry does it. They like the fact that they can isolate the data and protect it from the rest of the device. They were also impressed with the fact that BlackBerry allows for certificate management within a container, as well as the fact that because of BlackBerry’s built-in architecture, they don’t need to use separate tools for functionality like VPN.
BlackBerry Work was another major draw that led the organization to move away from AirWatch and MobileIron. It provides enterprise-grade PIM to every device within the organization, including iPads, which personnel use extensively. This ensures that all email data is kept completely secure without impeding personnel.
Finally, BlackBerry’s policy controls – which allow control over factors such as what app can be used to open an email attachment – put the organization’s mind further at ease from a security standpoint.
“Ultimately, we pushed our competitors out because we’re simply more enterprise-focused,” says the Sales Director. “The agency’s strategy meshed well with our strategy.”
With BlackBerry’s help, the organization is now in the process of moving its commands to on-premises installations of BlackBerry UEM. Servers and infrastructure are being centralized, while commands are still being left in control of endpoint management. In addition to UEM, the organization is using Microsoft® Office 365®, BlackBerry Work, and BlackBerry Dynamics.
This new approach has resulted in several significant gains:
A Unified Mobile Strategy: First and foremost, the organization is working to achieve its core goal: consolidation. Rather than having to bolt on separate apps from separate commands, it can now manage everything centrally. This allows for better security, and also helps the different commands stay up to date with the latest mobility trends far more effectively than would otherwise be possible.
“The organization’s goal when they approached us was for every command to be centrally-managed,” says the Sales Director. “They wanted to consolidate their architecture and allow their end users to focus on using their applications rather than maintaining them. Through BlackBerry, they’re doing exactly that.”
Improved Efficiency, Better Support for Personnel: In addition to migrating its current applications to BlackBerry Dynamics, the organization is developing several new applications through BlackBerry Dynamics SDK. With BlackBerry’s help, it has already deployed a mission support application. Instead of having to spend hours doing paperwork before and after a mission, personnel can simply login to the app through their mobile devices.
The organization is also working on a human resources application that allows personnel to access functions such as benefits, vacation time, and more. It has also deployed SmartOffice through Dynamics.
“Enterprise email folks were saying that they needed to do more than email,” the Sales Director explains. “Eventually, someone’s going to want to install a fence monitoring application on an iPad, or someone is going to want to put ,their email on their smartphone. They can’t do that without an enterprise-supported architecture.”
Easier BYOD: By using BlackBerry Work and containerizing its apps with Dynamics, the organization can easily support the use of personal devices. Military data is kept separate from personal information, and UEM allows IT to easily manage and keep track of everything.
“The way the organization looks at it is that there’s a clear divide between personal and professional data,” says the Director. “They let their personnel use personal apps on their devices within acceptable use, and BlackBerry allows them to keep those apps separate from the stuff they need to protect.”
Security, Control, Compliance: Finally, through BlackBerry’s security functionality, the organization is able to keep sensitive data both protected and classified. IT can keep sensitive files and data stored within its container, and sensitive mission details are protected from the eyes of everyone save those who need access.
More importantly, because BlackBerry’s solutions are so easy to use from an end-user standpoint, the organization need not worry as much about accidental data leaks.
“In any organization, insider threat or negligence is the biggest security risk,” says the Sales Director. “And it usually happens because people feel security interferes with their job. If we make it easy to follow security rules, people won’t feel the need to violate them.“